Letters to the Editor, October 02, 2016

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 12:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 12:15am

Health care in community must expand

I fully support the views ­expressed by Albert Lee, clinical professor in public health and primary care at the Chinese ­University of Hong Kong (“We need high-quality, community-based care for HK’s ageing ­society”, September 27).

We should rectify the idea many citizens hold that the ­effects of what we call the “silver tsunami” are none of our ­business and that it will be up to our public hospitals to deal with the effects of an ageing population.

As Professor Lee points out, high-quality community-based care is needed, to keep hospital admission rates as low as possible and ensure Hong Kong has a sustainable health-care system.

Professor Lee proposes three tiers of prevention. The first is a well-established health promotion system permeating citizens’ daily lives.

Secondary prevention aims to detect diseases at an early stage so treatment can start ­before they become serious.

The third tier can prevent ­patients who already have chronic diseases developing complications and this can keep ­hospital admissions of these ­patients to a minimum.

These may appear to be straightforward proposals, but they are important if in future we want to maintain a society that functions efficiently.

Ensuring they can be implemented successfully will require the integration of different levels of expertise, such as well-trained family doctors, primary care nurses and allied health professionals, community health practitioners and empowered professionals.

However, these measures cannot be implemented ­without the support of the government. It sees the continuing economic development of Hong Kong as essential to ­enable people to raise their ­living standards.

That is the correct approach to take, but we cannot neglect the needs of the growing ­number of elderly citizens who have made such an important contribution to society.

The government has to put more resources into these ­proposed social welfare policies so that we can cope with our ageing population. This is essential if we are to maintain a harmonious society.

Natalie Chiu, Lai Chi Kok

Pension-for-all scheme is affordable

There has been a lot of ­discussion about the kind of retirement protection the government should introduce.

I would support a universal retirement protection scheme for all citizens who have reached retirement age and I think it should be introduced as soon as possible. It would be a fixed sum and would help elderly citizens cope with daily living expenses.

Citizens pay a lot of taxes during their working lives so they should be treated equally when it comes to pension ­entitlement.

Critics of this proposal say the government would not have sufficient funds to pay for a ­universal pension for all citizens. Yet it has had more than enough money to spend on very expensive white elephant infrastructure projects. And even for events which are popular with citizens it can easily afford to splash out; for example, the visit of China’s Olympic stars last month cost HK$7 million.

It is estimated that the ­universal scheme would cost HK$56.3 billion by 2064. Instead of spending billions on the white elephant projects, the administration should spend some of it on its own citizens and their ­welfare.

Another criticism of the proposal is that by covering all citizens even the very rich like Li Ka-shing would get the monthly payment of HK$3,230. However, we do not have that many tycoons so I do not think payments to them would add that much to the overall pensions bill.

I think the advantages of the scheme outweigh the disadvantages.

Tang Chun-kit, Tsuen Wan

Worried about reliance on mega projects

MTR Corporation chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang has warned of possible delays to the opening of the South Island Line.

Being told about a delay to a large-scale infrastructure project is nothing new to Hongkongers. In fact there is still no clear timetable for the completion of the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge. Also, despite repeated project delays and going over budget, the government has still given the go-ahead for the construction of the third airport runway. Many ­people ask whether we have the capacity to run so many large- scale projects concurrently.

They have called on the government to focus on completing those projects which have already been started, but it has paid no need to these appeals.

It appears to be motivated by the fact that Hong Kong lacks an economic engine of growth. Since the global financial crisis in 2008, the government has relied on the construction sector to sustain economic momentum. There is an over-reliance on this sector.

The administration would not dare call a halt to the third runway because it would ­increase unemployment and this would have serious social, economic and political implications. I expect the runway project to be a fiasco and the construction industry in Hong Kong will soon face a correction.

Goldman Chan, Sham Shui Po

Traffic-free experiment was a big hit

For six hours on September 25, part of Des Voeux Road Central was turned into a pedestrian zone.

Citizens took advantage of this experiment to hold arts, ­music and environmental protection activities.

I am glad that it was successful and also that so many ­families got involved.

I can see there can be a downside to this as drivers barred from Des Voeux Road will join traffic jams on other nearby roads. However, I still think it is a good idea and with more pedestrians it can increase business for local shops.

Oscar Au Yeung, Po Lam

Congestion on other roads inevitable

I appreciate the NGOs which ­organised various activities ­during the traffic-free experiment on Des Voeux Road ­Central on September 25.

This six-hour event helped to raise the awareness of Hongkongers about the importance of environmental protection. Also, they could relax on a road that is normally full of vehicles.

However, there are two sides to every coin.

The closure of this section of Des Voeux Road ­Central meant that traffic would have been diverted to other roads which would then have to cope with traffic jams.

I think overall this experiment did more harm than good.

Walter Chong, Tseung Kwan O

Immigration officials need to be respectful

I refer to the report about two visitors from Thailand (“Outrage after two transgender women refused entry at Hong Kong International Airport”, September 24).

This led to allegations of discrimination against transgender people in Hong Kong.

It has been suggested that one reason they were denied entry was uncertainty over gender, but this is a very subjective judgment.

However, if there were other concerns, such as immigration officers not being satisfied with explanations given for the ­purpose of their visit, then a ­refusal may have been valid and the officers were just being ­vigilant.

But the women were apparently asked if they had been “cut already”, a reference to gender reassignment surgery and that is disrespectful.

When dealing with visitors to Hong Kong officials must always show empathy.

If they fail to do so, it damages the city’s reputation for being hospitable.

Jack Wu Shiu-ting, Tai Wai